Liturgically, the Feast of the Presentation (February 2) is the end or completion of the Christmas Cycle or Season.
We move from the expectation of the coming of the Messiah, through the Incarnation, the Feast of the Holy Family to the visit of the three Wise Men at Epiphany, and then on February 2 we celebrate the entry into the Temple of Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Mary. So much to take in through a few short months.
But that is not the end of the story, as we well know. In less that a fortnight this year, we begin the Season of Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 14 (in many people’s calendar St Valentine’s Day).
Lent begins quite early this year, so it’s good to take note of the date so that it doesn’t catch us unawares. If we are not forewarned, it could be almost over before we realise.
Over the last months and weeks some people have been preparing themselves to be received into the Church and/or begin the journey into the Sacraments of Initiation – Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation.
On the First Sunday of Lent, February 18, these will be presented at St Mary’s Cathedral at the Rite of Election.
The Elect, as these candidates are known, are a very special focus for our attention, thoughts and prayers during our Lenten Journey. We need to accompany them as they learn to walk with the family of the Church towards the great feasts of Holy Week and the Triduum.
We also need them to remind us of what a privilege we have to be able to enter into the life of the Church, the sacramental celebrations and especially the Holy Eucharist.
As we experience something of their “new-found” faith and devotion, we might recognise that our faith and devotion have become a little tepid. So, in praying for them, we pray for ourselves that some of their zeal and enthusiasm might inspire us anew as we enter into the Lenten Journey, which will lead us all through events of Holy Week to celebrate the Resurrection together.
Father, through your holy prophets you proclaimed to all who draw near to you, ‘Wash and be cleansed,’ and through Christ you have granted us rebirth in the Spirit. Bless these your servants (the catechumens) as they earnestly prepare for Baptism. Fulfil your promise: sanctify them in preparation for your gifts, that they may come to be reborn as your children and join us in praising your name. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
In blessed hope,